appraiser walking with clipboard near homeowner

How Long Does An Appraisal Take, And What Factors Can Affect The Process?

Katie Ziraldo3-minute read

May 07, 2021

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Buying a home is rarely a quick process. But all your time, sweat and tears suddenly seem worth it when you finally step foot into your dream home. Once your offer is accepted, you’re probably looking to move in and start your new life as soon as possible, but one key step still remains: the home appraisal.

Appraisals are crucial to the home buying process for several reasons – most notably because they allow both the buyer and the lender to feel confident in their financial investment.

But what goes into a home appraisal and how long can you expect it to take? In this article we’ll explore the basics of appraisals as well as the factors that may affect your ability to keep moving forward.

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What Is A Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal determines the fair market value of a home, which ensures the buyer is paying a fair price for the property. As opposed to the in-depth home inspection where the inspector is specifically searching for any and all small defects, a home appraiser is more focused on the overall value and basic condition of the home.

The appraiser will consider the home’s overall condition, any upgrades or improvements made to the property and do market research into similar homes in the area to calculate a final estimation of the property’s value, which is then reported back to your mortgage lender.

How Long Does A Home Appraisal Take?

Depending on the type of home being appraised, the appraiser’s own schedule and when your lender ordered it, an appraisal can take anywhere between a few days to a week, on average. Some appraisal reports can even be completed in a day, within approximately 6 hours. This process is similar when getting a refinance appraisal, although homeowners who are refinancing their property are allowed to attend the appraisal, while home buyers are not.

How Long Does An Appraisal Visit Take?

When an appraiser examines a property, there are several factors they consider, including:

Exterior integrity: An appraiser will observe the quality of the home’s structure, construction, roof and foundation, and look for any flaws or damages. They may also note the home’s location and neighborhood when determining its value.

Internal condition: Appraisers will examine the interior quality of the home, such as the square footage, number of rooms, layout and structural integrity.

Comparable sales (comps): An important part of your appraisal report involves the appraiser researching similar properties in the area, commonly referred to as “comps,” and using that as a guide for the current value.

The on-site appraisal visit can take as little as 30 minutes or up to a few hours, on average. Keep in mind this amount of time may differ with a drive-by appraisal.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Appraisal Report Back?

After the appraiser has collected the necessary information about the home, that information is then used to put together an appraisal report, which serves as a complete property analysis and tells the lender the final approximation of the home’s value.

The time it takes an appraisal report to be finished can depend on factors like the following:

  • The size or complexity of the home being appraised
  • The appraiser’s own workload or schedule
  • When the lender ordered the appraisal

Depending on these factors, home buyers can expect to receive their appraisal report a few days to a week after the appraisal took place. In addition to the home’s condition, the appraisal report will also provide a detailed market analysis.

The Bottom Line

Home appraisals can take anywhere from a few days to a week depending on the complexity of the property, the appraiser’s schedule and other varying factors.

Although impatience is normal at this point in the process, try to remember that while appraisals can seem tedious and time consuming, this step of the process is key as it ensures you’re getting your money’s worth on your new property – and it can even help you re-negotiate if the value of the home ends up being lower than your offer.

If you’re in need of financing, get started today with Rocket Mortgage® and begin your road to homeownership!

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Katie Ziraldo Headshot

Katie Ziraldo

Katie Ziraldo is a writer focused on financial learning for current and future homeowners. She found her love of writing through her experience working with various newspapers, such as the Detroit Free Press. Her financial literacy stems from her four years as a Recruiter, when she learned the details of every role in the mortgage process. As a writer, she uses that knowledge to create relevant content for homeowners to help them reach their goals.